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     :: AFI 11-209
     :: AFI 34-242

     Army:
     :: NG PAM 95-5

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Page last updated on:

01 November 2012

FUNERAL FLYOVER REQUESTS

 

The missing man formation is an aerial salute performed as part of a flyover of aircraft at a funeral or memorial event,

typically in memory of a fallen pilot.

HISTORY

In 1936, King George V received the first recorded flypast for a non-RAF funeral. The United States adopted the tradition in 1938 during the funeral for Major General Oscar Westover with over 50 aircraft and one blank file. By the end of World War II, the missing man formation had evolved to include the pull-up. In April 1954, United States Air Force General Hoyt Vandenberg was buried at Arlington National Cemetery without the traditional horse-drawn artillery caisson. Instead, Vandenberg was honored by a flyover of jet aircraft with one plane missing from the formation.

 

FORMATIONS

Several variants of the formation are seen. The formation most commonly used in the United States is based on the "finger-four" aircraft combat formation composed of two, two-aircraft elements. The aircraft fly in a V-shape with the flight leader at the point and his wingman on his left. The second element leader and his wingman fly to his right. The formation flies over the ceremony low enough to be clearly seen and the element leader abruptly pulls up out of the formation while the rest of the formation continues in level flight until all aircraft are out of sight.

In an older variant the formation is flown with one position conspicuously empty. In another variation, the flight approaches from the south, preferably near sundown, and one of the aircraft will suddenly split off to the west, flying into the sunset.

In all cases, the aircraft performing the pull-up, split off, or missing from the formation, represents the fact that the person (or persons) being honored has died.
Contacts

:: Before requesting a funeral flyover, please see "Eigibility".

     Air Force:
:: Little Rock Air Force Base Mortuary Affairs
    501-987-8484 (ofc)
    501-454-5013 (cell)
    501-987-5400 (fax)

     Army:
    501-212-5001

:: Arkansas National Guard Military Funeral Honors Program Manager
    501-212-5001

:: Arkansas National Guard Military Funeral Honors State Coordinator
    501-212-5979
    501-213-8241